Dr. Anthony Fauci was scheduled to step down from his National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director position by December 31, but a couple of days into the new year, neither the NIAID nor Fauci has officially announced the departure yet.
As of publishing this article, the NIAID lists Fauci as the director of the agency with no official confirmation from the doctor’s office about his stepping down.
“At the end of this month,” The agency said in a statement in December, “Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID, will step down from the role he’s held since 1984.” The statement included a quote from Fauci, “While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring. After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field.”
Many experts speculate Fauci’s decision to step down came in as Republicans were scheduled to take the majority in the House of Representatives. Fauci feared scrutiny and investigations into his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his latest interview with The Guardian, the NIAID director spoke about his agency’s handling of the COVID-19 virus and asserted that the “only thing I can say is that we tried our best given our best judgment and our analysis of what was going on around us to make recommendations.”
“I don’t think anybody got it completely 100-percent right but the idea to say that you should have not put any restrictions on anything at a time when there was a tsunami of infections and New York City hospitals were getting overrun, practically—think of Elmhurst hospital, remember those pictures of the cooler trucks with bodies piling up in that—you had to do something pretty significant to slow that down,” he told the publication.
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Fauci, a long-time federal government employee took over the NIAID in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan and gained widespread popularity in 2020 after appearing in more than a thousand interviews, acting as a self-described expert on the COVID pandemic. He made several changing stances on lockdowns, masks, and vaccines in 2020 and received criticism from conservative media. But despite his fast-changing stances, he was virtually worshiped by many in the liberal media.
With Republicans securing a majority in the House, there are rumors of investigations and public hearings into Fauci’s handling of the COVID response and allegations of his agency funding a third-party research organization that was involved with the study of the bat coronavirus at the Wuhan laboratory.
In his Guardian interview, Fauci asserted that the strict lockdown measures enforced by U.S. municipalities were the “right thing to do” and falsely claimed that he did not advocate for closing down schools and in-person learning.
“If you look at the record and go back to the clips, you’ll see how many times I said, we’ve got to try our best to get the kids back to school as quickly as we possibly can and as safely as we possibly can,” he said. “On the one hand, I was in favor of shutting things down temporarily, but I certainly felt we needed to open up as quickly and as safely as we could.”
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